North Yarmouth to vote on budget, town center plan

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NORTH YARMOUTH — Voters will decide on a $2.4 million municipal budget for fiscal 2014 at Town Meeting on Saturday, June 15.

Built into that spending plan is $155,000 for the first phase of a proposed economic development plan.

While next year’s municipal budget could drop 9.5 percent, reduced revenues could cause town taxes to increase 4 percent. The Board of Selectmen recommends the town spend $2.4 million in fiscal 2014, about $253,000 less than the current budget.

A loss in municipal income, from $1.8 million to $1.5 million, is built into that recommendation, which results in a municipal tax appropriation of about $926,000, up from nearly $891,000 in fiscal 2013.

Because of a revaluation going on this year, the tax rate impact may not be known until mid to late July.

The Board of Selectmen and Budget Committee recommend different expenditures for several line items. The Budget Committee is calling for about $633,000 to be spent under Public Works, which includes the paving of North Road. The Board of Selectmen favors that spending, but also supports another $45,000 to be spent on a “chip sealing” process for Town Farm Road.

In chip sealing, coarse rock is laid instead of asphalt. It is not as smooth a surface and noisier to drive on, but costs significantly less than normal pavement, Administrative Assistant Marnie Diffin has said. It has not been used in North Yarmouth.

North Yarmouth expects to receive $185,000 in the current fiscal year from state revenue sharing. The Board of Selectmen has planned for revenue of $150,000 for next year, while the Budget Committee plans for $100,000.

On the other hand, the Board of Selectmen wants to use $150,000 out of the Unassigned Fund Balance, down from the current $230,000, while the Budget Committee wants to use $190,000.

The goal of the first phase of a proposed economic development plan is to turn a triangular area in the center of town into a more visible, active and inviting town center. The project would cost $152,000, but legal fees raise that amount to $155,000, which would be funded through a multi-year bond.

Also in the budget is $45,000 to have an architect determine the cost of renovating Wescustogo Hall. That work would be funded by a bond if approved by a special Town Meeting vote, Diffin has said.

One factor causing the net budget decrease is the completion of Mill Road reconstruction, which was a $250,000 expenditure in the current budget.

Town Meeting will take place at Wescustogo Hall.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.